The Navy said it conducted a test of the Norwegian-built Naval Strike Missile on a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) on Wednesday, raising the possibility of using a longer range missile on the ship class to hit targets at greater distances and increase lethality.

The Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace missile was successfully launched aboard the USS

Coronado (LCS-4), the trimaran variant of the Littoral Combat Ship built by Austal USA. Naval Sea Systems Command said the missile hit its intended target.

The Navy's test of the NSM on a Littoral Combat Ship Wednesday. Photo: US Navy
The Navy’s test of the NSM on a Littoral Combat Ship Wednesday. Photo: US Navy

“We are pleased with the results of this surface warfare capability demonstration,” Rear Adm. Jon Hill, program executive officer for integrated warfare systems at NAVSEA, said. “This event was a well-coordinated effort between the Navy and industry, and I’m proud of the teamwork that made this test a success.”

The Navy does not have formal plans to deploy the Naval Strike Missile, or NSM, on the LCS class, but rather wanted to see how it would work after witnessing a Norwegian ship fire the missile during international maritime exercises in July.

The Navy has faced criticism over a perceived lack of firepower on the LCSs, as well as for other reasons, such as survivability. The NSM has a much longer range–about 100 nautical miles–than the missile systems the Navy currently plans to put on the ship.

A Navy official said, however, that the testing of the NSM does not mean the service is looking to replace the current Longbow Hellfire the service plans to use on LCS for short range threats. Rather, the NSM is potentially an added capability to increase the ship’s ability to hit targets at much greater distances.

The Longbow has a range of about five nautical miles and its mission would be to take out fast approaching small enemy boats.

Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, the program executive officer for the LCS, said the NSM offers “great potential.”

“This demonstration provided us with a tremendous opportunity to see the capabilities of both the ship and the missile, and what we saw today has great potential for LCS and other fleet assets,” he said.

The NSM is currently used by the Norwegian and Polish navies.

The Navy official said the decision to test the missile was not necessarily an attempt to thwart critics of the LCS, but it does show the modular design of the ship allows it to be quickly adapted to introduce new capabilities.

“If we think we need to go in this direction we’ll go in this direction, but there is not a (formal) requirement to do that,” the official said.